Autonomous trackless trams for up to 307 passengers to commence testing in Cyberjaya from January

Iskandar Malaysia BRT pilot testing

A trackless tram system, known as an automated rapid transit (ART) system will run in Cyberjaya as a pilot programme for a period of three months from January 2022, a report by The Vibes quoted Sepang municipal council president Datuk Abd Hamid Hussain as saying.

The pilot running of the ART will be conducted along Persiaran Rimba Permai and Persiaran Bestari as a test of the trackless trams’ capabilities, as well as to demonstrate the use of green technology, the municipal council president said. This trackless tram can accommodate up to 307 passengers at once, travel at a top speed of 70 km/h and can be operated both manually with a driver or autonomously, said Hamid.

“The three-carriage green vehicle as public transportation suits the council’s vision of low-carbon and smart city concept well, as it offers green mobility,” Hamid said, adding that trackless trams could be the future of public transport in Cyberjaya; the success of the pilot project could help Cyberjaya attain a reduction in carbon emissions of 40% by 2030, he said.

The automated rapid transit trams could have its test runs started by the end of this year, though that is dependent on the progress made in technical discussions and after a memorandum of understanding is signed between the stakeholders, and after all safety and technical issues have been resolved, Hamid told The Vibes.

These trams are powered by electricity, though without requiring overhead wires for power supply, and the trackless aspect comes from being outfitted with rubber tyres to run on tarmac instead of on rails as required by trains. These can run autonomously on virtual routes, directed by road markings.

According to the Malaysia Institute of Transport, the automated rapid transit system costs significantly less, and has better scalability for the transporting of more passengers than a BRT (bus rapid transit) system.

Automated Rapid Transit in China

The lower cost of the ART system is due to its green technologies, as well as new axle and wheel systems, according to Malaysia Institute of Transport head of continuous professional development and training Wan Mazlina Wan Mohamed.

“[Firstly], the batteries are not expensive, the vehicle is lightweight, and the manufacturing requirements allow it to be assembled locally, and secondly the ART service is likely to be the city’s catalyst and will attract urban development around the stations, as it can be a genuine fixed route transit system,” Wan Mazlina said.

The trackless trams system in Cyberjaya is the second ART system in the country, the first being the Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) system in Johor which entered its pilot testing phase in early April this year. Through service provider Mobilus, the IMBRT has since completed its trial in late August, with more than 2,000 km of test mileage recorded in the southern state, according to The Vibes.

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